Medical House Call: Alzheimer's, walking in their shoes

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Increasing awareness about Alzheimer's Disease is the goal of the Neurological Research Center at Hattiesburg Clinic and the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

Through out the month of November, Hattiesburg Clinic will play host to multiple events and seminars, filled with important information for local residents.

"Our goal is to educate people about what it feels like to walk a mile in their shoes, for a few minutes," said Melora Jackson, Dementia Care Trainer with the Department of Mental Health.

At first glance, the garb used to take you through a virtual dementia tour looks funny but I quickly learned there is nothing amusing about the confinements of Alzheimer's disease.

Jackson, dresses each participant in gloves and partially tapes their fingers together, to represent severe arthritis. Goggles are worn to simulate skewed vision and loud noises and a bunch of people talking are played through earphones, making it hard to hear or comprehend anything.

Each participant is given a list of tasks: finding a white sweater, setting the table for four and drinking a glass of water. That seems easy, right? Not if you have Alzheimer's or Dementia.

"One in eight people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's disease, said Jackson." "So, there is about five-and-a-half million people, roughly, in this country that have it now. By 2050 those numbers are going to triple."

That is why, for just a few minutes, walking in their shoes through a virtual tour, is so important.

Jackson said, "We are going to see a lot more people with Alzheimer's disease in the very near future."

Whether you're providing care or just a member of the public interested in the signs, symptoms and affects of this disease, they want to educate you.

There are three events. All are free to the public and all ages are encouraged to attend.

Space is limited and registration is required..

November 9th: a free memory screening, from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

November 9th: a lunch and learn, from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

November 13th: In their footsteps, a virtual tour, from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. And 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information, call Hattiesburg Clinic at 601-268-5606.

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